Gift of Life walk for donation awareness turns 10
“The sizing for the cartilage has to be pretty much spot on, so a lot of people don’t actually find the right match.”There’s a very limited number of cartilages in the bone bank — less than 30 — so a lot of people actually miss out.”Walking pain-free for the first time in nine yearsMs Pheeney said the road to recovery had been long but she was now seeing the benefits. “I went to a specialist because of pain in my knee and we had some scans done where it revealed I had severely injured my knee, torn right through the meniscus,” she told Genevieve Jacobs on ABC Radio Canberra. But when she was nine she started experiencing severe pain in her knee. (Supplied: Kayla Pheeney)
“It was bone on bone in my knee; I wasn’t able to do any of the activities I was able to do previously.”My quality of life dramatically decreased.” Specialists recommended she have a cartilage transplant. Photo:
Kayla Pheeney and her mother conquered Waimea Canyon in Hawaii 11 months post-transplant. “It’s a very uncommon procedure, and it’s not done in Canberra; we had to travel to Brisbane,” she said. “It was an injury he hadn’t seen and he’d been a specialist for many, many years.”Quality of life ‘dramatically decreased’Ms Pheeney had been born with discoid meniscus, an anatomical variant that does not usually cause people problems.She had her first knee surgery when aged nine, and the following year she had two-thirds of the cartilage removed from one of her knees because it could not be repaired.”So I basically walked every day in constant pain,” she said. (Supplied: Kayla Pheeney)
“The past couple of months I’ve been getting back to walking without pain.”I went for my first run the other day which was just amazing.”It’s life-changing — even though we don’t know the long-term results of what this procedure is going to have, it’s just awesome that for the time being I can get back to being normal.” DonateLife Walk to raise awareness of organ donation Now that Ms Pheeney can walk pain-free again, she is joining the 11th annual Gift of Life DonateLife Walk in Canberra on Wednesday to help raise awareness of organ and tissue donations.A record 1,447 Australians received a life-saving transplant through the generosity of 503 deceased organ donors last year alone. But she had to wait until she stopped growing before she could go on the transplant waitlist.After a year on the waitlist, a donor was found and the transplant was performed last year. Photo:
Kayla Pheeney on crutches after meniscal repair surgery aged nine. Photo:
More than 5,700 people took part in last year’s Gift of Life DonateLife Walk. (ABC Radio Canberra: Kim Lester)
There are still more than 1,400 people on the organ waiting list at any one time, and 50 die each year waiting for a transplant.”It’s really important to be aware of your family’s wishes,” Ms Pheeney said.”Organ donation and tissue transplantation won’t go ahead if your family and your friends aren’t aware of your wishes so it’s really important that you have that conversation.”For more information on organ and tissue donation, visit the Organ and Tissue Authority. Like many young girls, Kayla Pheeney started dancing when she was four years old.She loved dancing and performed at a national level.
(Supplied: Kayla Pheeney) Photo:
Kayla Pheeney pre-injury competing in the 2007 Australian Irish Dance Championships.
ABC Radio Canberra
February 28, 2017 11:08:08